Saturday July 20, 2024

West Indies cricket legend showers praise on Sarfraz, Babar

Sir Vivian Richards shares his insights on the growth of the PSL, emergence of young talent in Pakistan

By Faizan Lakhani
March 06, 2024
Left to right: West Indian cricket legend Sir Vivian Richards, Babar Azam and Sarfraz Ahmed. — Reporter/AFP/File
Left to right: West Indian cricket legend Sir Vivian Richards, Babar Azam and Sarfraz Ahmed. — Reporter/AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Sir Vivian Richards, the revered West Indian cricket legend and mentor of the Quetta Gladiators, has praised the Pakistan Super League (PSL) for providing exposure to the young talent of Pakistan cricket.

In an exclusive interview with Geo News, the West Indian cricket legend shared his insights on the growth of the PSL, the emergence of young talent, and the current state of cricket. With his trademark charisma, Richards provided a unique perspective on various aspects of the game.

Richards, who has been involved with the PSL since its inception, expressed his admiration for the league's continuous improvement over the years.

"Every year, it just seems to be improving. And you can only speak of the individuals who come to this particular tournament," he remarked, emphasising the caliber of players drawn to the competition.

When asked about the role of the PSL in nurturing young talent, Richards praised Pakistan's cricketing prowess. "Pakistan is blessed with enormous talent," he stated, highlighting the league's role in providing opportunities for young players to showcase their skills on a global stage.

“To have the PSL, it gives every young individual an opportunity,” he said.

“After they would have been successful in the PSL, they can go on to bigger things, the big bashes around the world and all the other tournaments. So, this is a tournament that is done well,” Sir Viv Richards added.

Known for his fearless approach to the game, Richards offered advice to aspiring cricketers, stressing the importance of perseverance and hard work in overcoming challenges.

"The only thing that you fear, I guess for young individuals, is failure. But failure comes with success."

“It's all about working hard. And wherever you would have had failure to go back and work as hard as possible to get yourself back in, in the best place that can be in order for you to perform,” the West Indian great added.

Discussing the Quetta Gladiators' resurgence in the current PSL season, Richards credited the team's cohesion and meticulous coaching under Shane Watson's guidance.

"When you have good talent and someone like Shane Watson at the helm as coach, everyone is happy together," he remarked, highlighting the team's unity as a key factor in their success.

Commenting on former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed's transition to a non-captain role, Richards commended his positive influence on the team, emphasizing his valuable contributions both on and off the field.

"Just having him around is always a good thing. His contribution to the team is as good as any," he affirmed, recognising Sarfaraz's value beyond his leadership role.

“Sarfaraz is a player who wears his heart on his sleeve. I've always been a fan of Sarfaraz weather he's captain or noncaptain, I believe that he brings a lot of positive things to the team,” he said.

Responding to a question about Babar Azam, Richards lauded Babar's class and consistency, describing him as a "magnificent player" with a unique style.

"I can tell you for sure. Babar is a class by himself. I guess he doesn't pick the bat up with all aggression like some of the other guys you see hitting big sixes. But he still gets the job done. And I just think he's a magnificent player not just for Pakistan but also for World cricket

"Babar has his style and every other batsman around the world have their particular style, but there are some individuals that you appreciate seeing. And, Babar is certainly one of them,” said the legendary batsman of his era.

Looking ahead to the T20 World Cup in the West Indies, Richards expressed confidence in the home team's capabilities, emphasising their talent and potential for success.

“Even though I love Pakistan, and I love Pakistan dearly, I think West Indies have a good enough team in order for them to go on win it. So, we're hoping that we can give a good show of ourselves.”

“One must remember that West Indies is filled with a lot of talent as well. And, in this T20 form, they are just as good as any team that is there,” he said.

“We're just hoping that the guys can come to the form, put their best performance and so long as they do that, I believe that we can win that T20 World Cup at home,” he said.

Replying to a question, Richards said that the way West Indies performed in the Test series against Australia, it reminded him of his old days. He also heaped praises on Shamar Joseph.

“This is only my opinion, when you are fully rounded in terms of test match cricket then all the other stuff that that comes after that it becomes easier in my opinion,” he said.